Stimpson Lies In Attack Mailer On Howell and McDonnell

Bearing Drift broke the story earlier this week of a mailer hitting in the 28th House District from Susan Stimpson, attacking Bill Howell for daring to stand up for Governor Bob McDonnell:

Speaker Bill Howell has known Bob McDonnell for decades. They started a bible study and prayer group together that the Speaker still leads today. McDonnell attended one earlier this year. The House even awarded Howell and McDonnell the “BFF” award in one of their session-ending ceremonies. Speaker Bill Howell attended the appeals hearing and testified as a character witness for Bob McDonnell.

Howell released this statement then:

“I have known Bob McDonnell for a long time and consider him a close friend. I am heartbroken by the pain he and his family have suffered and by what this means for Virginia. Cessie and I offer our sincerest prayers for the McDonnell family during this difficult time.”

Stimpson’s reaction? She attacks McDonnell and Howell in an attempt to smear the Speaker while hiding the fact that she’s referring to McDonnell in her mudslinging.

Republican Primary voters in the 28th District most likely have an opinion on McDonnell. And even if Stimpson’s mailer doesn’t name him outright, they’ll know exactly who she’s talking about, which her campaign is banking on. Though one could hope for a bit more courage and the ability to name names from their delegate, what is most glaring about this mailer aren’t the charges: It’s that they’re outright lies.



The article these accusations are citing is “McDonnell asked top Va. lawmakers to call U.S. Attorney’s Office, attest to his character” from January 18, 2014. Typically tear out visuals like this are quotes from an article, but in both of these cases there is no quote. They’re theoretically summarizing portions of the article. Except in both cases, they aren’t at all.

Take the first accusation, that Howell called investigators to halt the investigation. That didn’t happen, even by their own citation.

Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell asked the top Democrat in the state Senate and the speaker of the House of Delegates to call the U.S. Attorney’s Office last week to attest to his character, the senator and a spokesman for the speaker said Saturday.

Sen. Richard L. Saslaw (Fairfax) said he and House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) placed the call together, leaving a message. Howell later received a call indicating that the U.S. attorney had declined their offer.

“I didn’t see it as a big deal. He called up and asked if I would do it, and I did,” Saslaw said. “He’s not a criminal. He just is not.”

The call to investigators wasn’t to end any investigation, it was to offer to attest to the Governor’s character, a call also made by many more Republicans and Democrats alike, all saying that not only is Bob McDonnell a good guy, but that he did nothing wrong.

The second accusation, that Howell offered himself as a character witness for a convicted government official also fails the truth test given that in January of 2014 the case against Bob McDonnell had yet to even go to trial.

Eventually, yes, Howell was a character witness during the sentencing phase that came after the September conviction. And why wouldn’t he? Howell and McDonnell are close friends:

Howell and McDonnell are especially close. They have been friends at least since McDonnell was elected to the House of Delegates in 1991. Howell, McDonnell and two others started a Bible study group for legislators years ago, meeting at 7 a.m. every Wednesday during the legislative session. Now dozens come, and McDonnell continued to attend as governor.

At the end of the session last year, when House members traditionally give satirical awards to members deemed to be the most annoying or most talkative on the floor, McDonnell and Howell got a new award: “best friends forever.”

Howell’s actions have nothing to do with government and everything to do with friendship. But as of the writing of the Washington Post article Stimpson uses to hang Howell, that friend had not been found guilty of anything.

Susan Stimpson’s mailer shows a new low in the campaign, not just in trying to shame fellow Republicans beyond Howell and McDonnell (there are plenty of people in Richmond who stand with Bob McDonnell and she’d have to work with should she win) but in outright lying to do so.

The primary is on June 9th.

So, I waited a couple of days…

…and Schoeneman’s sour grapes hit piece on Whitbeck, Snyder, Colgate and the RPV Grassroots Challenge success is still ridiculous. I wanted to see if he walked it back, or “put it in context”, etc. Nope. He’s doubled down, both in comments and on social media. In the meantime, Chris Beer has spared the rest of us the task of debunking it in detail.

During and after the Sully primary, I was one of the conservative voices telling people to ease up on Schoeneman a bit, for the sake of party unity, plus, what does attacking Brian really accomplish?

Well, never mind that now. Carry on.

Great time at the Guevara general election kickoff shindig last night. Great turnout, plenty of candidates and activists came to enjoy the unique venue and hear Senator Allen talk about what we need to do to win in Virginia. Met my colleague here at VV, Steve Thomas, for the first time in person. I saw John Guevara give the best speech I’ve seen him give. We’re going to win in Sully.

Op-Ed: Janis has been a consistent in a profession with a flighty reputation

Op-Ed from Zell Milliband of Hanover County in response to the Virginia Right post “How Bill Janis Lost My Support In The Virginia Senate Race”:

I have only been in politics for several years, but I have never seen or heard of a political conversion as sharp and as stark as that of Tom White. That’s sad because I looked up to him as an even-handed grandfatherly political sage in the area. Mr. White’s endorsement of Janis would have made much more sense as recently as three years ago, but since then, Mr. White’s politics has taken a distinctly angry and even conspiratorial turn.

In spite of the V.M.I. connection (I have some college classmates whom I like personally but wouldn’t vote for them for dog catcher), these days, the initial endorsement of Bill Janis smelled like pots of chitterlings and collard greens slow cooking at the same time. It almost seemed like Mr. White was setting up Janis for an eventual endorsement retraction in much the same way as Lucy with Charlie Brown’s football. In his screed, he puts out a laundry list of reasons including the use of Ray Allen as a consultant and a missed committee vote. All of his complaints were common knowledge for a long time to anyone who has followed Bill Janis’ career in the slightest. Anyone who claims to be shocked was paying very little attention. Mr. White goes on to say the tipping point came when Bill Janis failed to answer a debate question to his satisfaction. That goes to show the weak Mr. White’s support was from the beginning.

When I was growing up, we would call people who change their minds on a whim “flighty”. When I came to observe Mr. White in the very beginning I never thought I would be describing him this way in any context. I do not know Bill Janis that well, but his political philosophy has not changed. He does not buy into factional politics and calls things as he sees them come what may. Based on Bill Janis’ voting record on his conduct during the time I have been involved in politics, he has been remarkably consistent in a profession with a flighty reputation. Isn’t it ironic that Tom White is more flighty than the politician?

NAGR lies to Virginia voters and sets up Janis in VA-12

In February I wrote about Scott Rigell’s issue with Rand Paul and his association with the organization National Association for Gun Rights. Looks like Rigell may have company thanks to NAGR’s recent attacks on candidates for General Assembly:

Unfortunately, I discovered that Chris was not the only pro-gun candidate to be attacked with these false mailers. The following candidates and their staff have confirmed with Bearing Drift that similar mailers were sent out in their districts:

House of Delegates:

Delegate Chris Head

State Senate:

Senator Emment Hanger

Former Delegate Bill Janis

Today, the Virginia National Rifle Association blog posted a piece asserting that the Janis attack mailer is completely false:

How exactly does NAGR determine a candidate’s record? Not just by how they answer a survey but by whether they answer it at all. And if a candidate doesn’t answer the survey, they attack by saying the candidate REFUSES to oppose or support something because they “refused” to answer the survey.

This requires surveys to be sent to candidates in a timely manner so they can be returned by a certain date – in NAGR’s case the 1st of May – so NAGR can respond accordingly.

The NAGR mailer against Bill Janis started hitting mailboxes around Wednesday of last week, the 27th – ONLY EIGHT DAY AFTER THEY ACTUALLY MAILED THEIR SURVEY TO BILL JANIS AND ONLY ONE DAY AFTER IT WAS ACTUALLY RECEIVED!

NAGR requested their survey be returned by May 1st, but short of Janis having a time machine, that’d be impossible given that the postmark on the envelope was the 19th with date of shipment and delivery backed up by the fact it was sent certified mail.

NAGR Letter to Bill Janis
NAGR Letter to Bill Janis
Envelope of NAGR letter to Bill Janis - note post mark of May 19th
Envelope of NAGR letter to Bill Janis – note post mark of May 19th
Tracking information for NAGR letter to Bill Janis
Tracking information for NAGR letter to Bill Janis
Flyer attacking Bill Janis
Flyer attacking Bill Janis

This is a false attack on Bill Janis purposefully orchestrated by NAGR in an attempt to LIE to 12th District voters just weeks from the June 9th Primary.

Who knows how many other candidates have been burned in a similar manner across the nation.

This is a scam – of NAGR’s donors, elected officials, and worst of all the American people.

It’s getting hot in here

Stafford County is on fire! As things heat up in the races for Republican nomination in many races in Stafford County the overwhelming theme is starting to become incumbency vs. the new comer.

Unless you are living under a rock you are certainly aware of the marquee race in Stafford is the 28th House of Delegate race, that pits 28-year incumbent Speaker of the House Bill Howell against former Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Susan Stimpson. That race alone is enough to ignite the embers in Stafford County, but why stop there, Stafford is heading for a full inferno on June 9th.

In the race for nomination for Commonwealth Attorney incumbent CA Eric Olsen is being challenged by Jason Pelt. In 2011 these two faced off and Olsen was the victor. This year Pelt is mounting a strong campaign for the job and very well may end up the victor this year.

Back to the House of Delegates, in the 2nd District former Delegate Mark Dudenhefer is facing a strong challenge by new comer Tim Ciampaglio for the nomination. The “Dude”, who won election to the Delegate office in 2011, lost it in 2013 when Democrat Mike Futrell was able to ride the coattails of now-Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Ciampaglio, has not served in elected office, and is using his experience as a small business owner to make the case to win the nomination. This race has all the flavor of incumbent vs. new comer.

In other races, while there aren’t incumbents, the current office holders are certainly making their voices heard. In the race for Clerk of Court Kathy Sterne, the current Deputy Clerk of Court is in a battle with Sheriff Deputy Darrell English and local relator Jim Fry for the nomination. Long-time incumbent Clerk of Court Barbara Decatur has thrown her support behind her deputy, creating a de-facto incumbent vs. new comer(s) battle.

Finally in the race for the nomination for Rock Hill (or is it Rockhill) Supervisor, Wendy Maurer is facing Adela Bertoldi. While, neither of the candidates currently hold or have held an elective office, the incumbent Supervisor, Cord Sterling has thrown his support behind his former campaign treasurer and appointee to the Economic Development Authority Wendy Maurer.

These races will certainly make for an interesting day on June 9th in Stafford County. With all of the races in the county it’s hard to say if it will be a day for incumbents or the new comers to triumph. As an outside observer to the races one thing is clear there is a lot of political talent and well run campaigns in Stafford County. It would be hard to point to a current front runner in any of these races. The county registrar’s office has done a fantastic job in years past posting election results before the State Board of Elections can even post them to their site. The registrar’s office had better ensure they have plenty of bandwidth available when polls close on June 9th, because there will be a lot of eyes looking for the victors.

Virginia Virtucon has contributors involved, supporting or aligned with many of the candidates and campaigns in a number of the races in Stafford. Therefore Virginia Virtucon has decided not to make any blog-wide endorsements in any of the races (. . . however – we do reserve the right to change our minds and endorse if see fit to do so).

* 28th House of Delegates District includes parts of the city of Fredericksburg
* 2nd House of Delegates District includes parts of Prince William County
Race Candidate Candidate
billhowell Bill Howell



susan-stimpson Susan Stimpson




Mark Dudenhefer



530915_10151247519484380_2072272125_n Tim Ciampaglio



Commonwealth Attorney
olson Eric Olsenfacebook
pelt Jason Pelt



Clerk of Court
Sterne Kathy Sterne



english Darrell English




fry Jim Fry




Rock Hill Supervisor
maurer Wendy Maurer



Bertoldi Adela Bertoldi



Has Dr. Dunnavant violated HIPAA rules in VA-12? (UPDATED)

siobhan_dunnavantVirginia Right has the story and it doesn’t look good for Dr. Siobhan Stolle Dunnavant in Virginia’s 12th Senate race:

I received a copy of a letter Dr. Siobhan Stolle Dunnavant sent to her patients concerning her campaign for Virginia Senate in the 12th District. The picture below is a bit small to read, but a PDF version is available by clicking this link.

It would appear that Dunnavant has accessed her patient files and sent a letter telling them she is running for Senate and what to expect during the legislative session should she win the seat.

And then the letter goes on to solicit help and volunteers for her campaign along with the campaign website.

At the very end of the letter, we are told that the letter was paid for and authorized by “Friends of Siobhan Dunnavant” which is her campaign.

The letter includes an attachment from the recipient warning that the letter was sent in violation of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

News of this comes on the heels of Dunnavant going on the air earlier this week after struggling in a debate last week and seeing Bill Janis receive the endorsement of the NRA.

The biggest issue Dunnavant faces with this is the charge of hypocrisy against her campaign.

She’s been running as opposed to career politicians and as an answer to politics as usual (the doctor over the lawyers). The problem is, this move is absolutely politics as usual and something a career politico would do – further highlighting her THREE elected official siblings in the Hampton Roads area.

This also diminishes the “good doctor” image that Dunnavant has been trying to present, using her patient list for political purposes. It’s one thing to make patients aware of something that may limit your ability to practice – it’s another thing to turn that information into a political advertisement, a request for volunteers, and then use the practice’s patient portal as a means of communicating about your political activities. The letter is clearly meant to be political, not just informational doctor-patient communications, as it comes “Paid for and authorized by Friends of Siobhan Dunnavant.”

Dr. Dunnavant’s patients deserve an explanation as to why their private contact information was used by a political campaign. The voters in the 12th Senate District deserve to know why she would so blatantly violate HIPAA laws for her own personal gain.

Voters do deserve better than politics as usual in the Senate. Unfortunately, that choice may not be Dr. Siobhan Stolle Dunnavant.

UPDATE: The Dunnavant campaign responded in the comments with a message from campaign manager Chad Cole:

We are familiar with this inquiry and we are comfortable with our actions taken to ensure that the communication in question was appropriate and in line with all applicable guidelines. In response to concerns that she might be leaving the practice to pursue office, Dr. Dunnavant reached out to the practice’s patients to inform them of steps she was taking to ensure continuity of care. She felt it was important that patients understand she would remain with the practice, and that she would still be available to provide care. Dr. Dunnavant discussed the matter with both her practice and legal counsel and no violation of patient privacy took place.

-Chad Cole, Campaign Manager

Tea Parties, Facebook, and Astroturf in the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Race

I should have known better. I do this kind of stuff for a living. But sometimes even I take a quick look at something and make false assumptions based on what is quickly available.

Yesterday The Bull Elephant called shenanigans on Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman claiming the endorsement of the Loudoun County Tea-Party:

That couldn’t be further from the truth. The page he refers to is a fake Loudoun Tea Party page, one that was set up to in 2011 solely to endorse Chapman for Sheriff. It’s a virtual Tea Party page only, it has no members and it has no meetings. It has no affiliation with the real Tea Party of Loudoun County, the group that meets in Loudoun on the second Tuesday of the month and is chaired by Dr. Daniel Brubaker.

There are two Facebook pages for Loudoun County Tea Parties.

One did indeed endorse Chapman for Sheriff, the LoudounCounty Tea-Party with 4723 likes.

The other has not endorsed, the Tea Party of Loudoun County with 82 likes (up from 30 yesterday afternoon).

There’s some debate on which group is the “real” Tea Party but that may go no where – there can be more than one Tea Party group for a locality.

The question then becomes one of legitimacy. Mainly, can the LCTP be viewed as a reliable, trusted source of information and endorsements that reflects the Tea Party and informs the public in general?

Many people look at 4700 likes and stop right there. That’s a lot of likes. But likes alone do not tell the full story of a Facebook page and the people behind it. Likes can be bought. Quantity alone is a false metric. Quality matters as well – what kind of engagement does the page have with its audience.

And the answer for LCTP is not very much.

Their most recent posts concerning the endorsement and attacking The Bull Elephant each pull a max of 21 total engagements (likes, shares, comments). That’s less than one half of a percent of the page’s total likes. Until recently, the page had very few posts in the last two years, and among those the engagement was in the single digit if it was above zero at all. Very few posts, if any, break above the 0.5% engagement rate.

The page also raises red flags in lacking any information about the group, any contact information, or even a single name of a person behind or driving the page’s content.

This page reeks of astroturf. It’s not the first instance of online shenanigans coming up in the sheriff’s race, but it certainly stands out when a campaign wants to wrap its arms around it. This is not to say the Chapman campaign can’t claim the endorsement. Clearly they got it. But I’d hope a campaign would do more to find out who is behind a group endorsing them to ensure legitimacy and even just to cover their own tails. Anonymous endorsements carry pitfalls that any campaign should be weary of.

Now, the TPofLC Facebook page is new. Honestly, it looks like it was built in response to the existence of the LCTP page. But they link to a website with more information, they have regular meetings, you can find names and faces. It at least is giving the appearance of legitimacy. LCTP fails on all points.

I don’t know the history, perhaps the LCTP was at one point the genuine deal and there was a split, or someone at some point saw an easy way to build a ready made audience for whatever on down the line. But as it stands now, the page looks illegitimate and its viewpoints are suspect and should be taken with a grain of salt.

File Under “For Real?” In Virginia’s 12th

There’s a four way fight for the Republican nomination to replace Walter Stosch in Virginia’s 12th District. Former Delegate Bill Janis seems to be the candidate with the largest bullseye on his back given his past representation in part of the district and being the only candidate with elected experience. Vince Haley is making some great noise and appealing to a lot of the Tea Party groups and his Newt Gingrich associations aren’t too bad either (though he did get a ding for not voting in last year’s Cantor/Brat primary). Edward Whitlock is also running and not much is really known about him but in a divided field there’s a lot or room to sneak through and surprise people.

That leaves Dr. Siobhan Dunnavant, who is trying to carve out a position somewhere between Janis and Haley. She repeatedly beats the drum on typical Tea Party talking points: Obamacare bad, boo Common Care, and no Amnesty! Which isn’t a bad thing, even if it sounds canned and like she’s just checking off all of the boxes.

But with Janis being the elephant in the room, she’s taking an interesting approach by attacking “career politicians.” For example:

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 8.14.35 AM

Just one problem with this line of attack: She’s from a political family herself. In fact, it was the focus of coverage when she entered the race:

But Dunnavant — an obstetrician/gynecologist and West End mother of four who also runs a small health care business with her husband — is not a newborn in the Republican political nursery. She is the sister of Del. Christopher P. Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, who is also a physician. Another brother, Ken, is the sheriff of Virginia Beach and a former state senator.

No to career politicians but hooray for political dynasties?

Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a political family. But can a candidate who will be the third member of this generation of her family to serve in the General Assembly really attack “career politicians” with a straight face?

Personally, I’d love to see her take a strong stand on issues such a life and women’s health. Dunnavant is an OB/GYN and would be a strong counterweight to abortion loving Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam who loves to brag about being a doctor so knowing better on the range of issues from Obamacare to Women’s Health. She mentions pro-life values on her issues page but as a bullet point.

There’s a lot there for Dr. Dunnavant. But these canned approaches and “career politician” attacks that ignore her own family history don’t do her justice.

PWC Fire House Primary two days away

As we previously posted the PWC Republican Fire House primary is now just two days away.  In our previous post we provided our readers an opportunity to vote for their favorites in the races that will be on the ballot on Saturday in Prince William County.

Surprise, surprise our readers followed our endorsements, well except for the race for BOCS Chairman.  Does this mean the campaigns are over?  VV endorsed candidates are sure to win on Saturday?   NO!  Our polls don’t mean a hill of beans for what may transpire on Saturday.  We have no way to accurately measure how many voters that participated in our polls can actually vote in any of the elections on Saturday in PWC.   While fun to get a sense of what our readers think, and to kill time until election day, polls on blogs don’t mean squat.

The good news . . .it doesn’t appear any candidates or campaigns spent much time or effort trying to win our polls.  Hopefully all of the campaigns are doing what they need to be doing right now – contacting voters!  People who can actually vote for their candidates and decide PWC’s fate for the next four years.  Candidates that spend time worrying about what blog is endorsing them need to reexamine their priorities.

Good luck to all of the candidates on the ballot on Saturday in PWC.  Except for a select few, all of the candidates on the ballot on Saturday are worthy of carrying the Republican banner into the November general election.

48 hours candidates – STOP Reading BLOGS and get on the doors and get on the phones!

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 9.57.33 PM


Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 9.57.54 PM

Steve Chapman worries non-Repubicans might walk away from Republican Firehouse Primary on Saturday

This Saturday, Prince William County Republicans will choose their nominees in a series of firehouse primaries across the county. When they arrive, they’ll be asked to sign a statement of intent which simply says, “hey, you are choosing to participate in the Republican nominating process so it’d be nice if you’d pledge to support the actual Republican nominee come this November, whether or not it is your guy.” More or less.

To one candidate in particular, that is a bridge too far:

Steve Chapman, who is running for the Republican nominee for Woodbridge supervisor, said he’s concerned voters could be turned off by the “statement of intent.”

“It would be terrible for the party if a bunch of people come in and feel disenfranchised because they have to sign a blood oath to the Republican Party or be turned away,” Chapman said. “That’s un-American.”

“Un-American,” he says. Like a Constitutional right to free association granted to political parties not by a Supreme Court decision or the highest document in the land but by our Creator himself?

Or how about the well documented series of great “American” acts like adultery, threatening a 9 year old girl, and just being a jerk as documented regularly by BVBL?

Mr. Chapman, Steve if you will, Steve-o if I may, who exactly are you trying to get and come vote for you that would be offended to say they’ll support the Republican nominee in November even if it isn’t you?

Also, you do realize it’s non-binding, right? No pin prick, no knife and bowls, no ceremony of any sort, no one checking your ballot come November and hauling you off to a reeducation camp for voting the wrong way (Republicans don’t do that, Democrats do /snark).

Get over yourself, Steve-o. And be ready for the people of Woodbridge to elect Lee Price to be the Republican on the ballot in November – and the next Supervisor out of Woodbridge.

And I do hope you’ll vote for him in November, Steve-o.

Prince William County Fire House Primary – Saturday April 25

On Saturday April 25th voters from across the county in Prince William County will be going to the polls to set nominees for the Republican ticket for the fall elections.   In what is called a Fire House Primary voters will have  from 10am to 3pm to go to designated polling locations to vote for their choice to represent the Republican Party in the November election.

This year’s election in Prince William County is shaping up to be the most exciting election in Prince William County since 2003.  With an anti-incumbent sentiment growing in the county otherwise expected shoe-in incumbents are facing strong challenges for their party’s nomination.  For Chairman of the Board of County Supervisors Corey Stewart is facing a challenge from newcomer Chris Crawford and in the Coles District Marty Nohe is facing a challenge from Paul O’Meara.

Virginia Virtucon has been watching the races that are on the ballot Saturday and have made our endorsements.  Below find all of the candidates on the ballot and our label next to those we find to be the best choice for the future of Prince William County.



Race Candidate Candidate
11021530_1391559871164039_2734001692066890660_o Glen Hill
1284d7b Mike Messier
Clerk of Court
52e203a3e9c98.image Michele McQuigg
1234744_10151658168908269_128633255_n Austin Haynes
BOCS Chairman
1234744_10151658168908269_128633255_n Corey Stewart
crawford Chris Crawford
Coles Supervisor
VOT_Martin_E_Marty_Nohe_8057_1317409020 Marty Nohe
O'Meara169 Paul O’Meara
Occoquan Supervisor
Anderson_Headshot (2) Ruth Anderson
11156253_444984835675392_4506503143123809939_n Donald Scroggins
Woodbridge Supervisor
1234744_10151658168908269_128633255_n1 Lee Price
s6-2-257x300 Steve Chapman

Tell Us what you think about the races in PWC – who would you vote for?

Follow-up On Slating… And A Word About The Sully Mess

A little over a week ago, I wrote here about the slating affair of last year and what its lasting consequences have been, are, and should be. A few days later, I got an email from Delegate Jimmie Massie (R-72nd) expressing his concerns that he was being unfairly named as one of the slaters. He copied the illustrious T. Boulden on it, asking me to retract that part of my post. So I again reached out to some Henrico activist folks I know that were at the Henrico mass meeting. What I got back was interesting.

Delegate John O’Bannon (R-73rd) actually taunted someone before the meeting, sticking his finger in the guy’s face, saying “When your side starts winning elections, then we can sit down and talk.”

Whoops. How’d that work out for you? See you in 2017.

Both O’Bannon and Linwood Cobb clearly were in on the slating, and Janis was seen whispering with Cobb at the back of the room. And… “Massie addressed the audience before the voting began to prepare our side for losing. He said we had to ‘leave there and stay friends after the vote.’ After the vote, I went up to Jimmie and asked him if we were still friends?”

Also, these letters went out shortly before the Henrico County mass meeting (editorializing and highlighting not mine, this is the state in which I got them):


Remarkably like some emails that went out in Hampton Roads before the meetings down there, which were courtesy of Ray Allen and the YG Virginia crowd, aren’t they? Bearing in mind as well that O’Bannon was obviously involved in the planning and execution of the Henrico slating effort, it certainly doesn’t look good to be coordinating with him.

To sum up, I stand by my previous post.

Moving on to the Sully Supervisor primary, I just want to state that while I’m personally a firm supporter of John Guevara in that race, the attack on Brian Schoeneman yesterday was ridiculous. He went to his personal network, as every smart candidate does, to raise money. Not a thing wrong with that.


A year later… “Get over it.” Not a CHANCE.

So it appears that many Republican members of the General Assembly that supported the Cantor/Young Guns-led slating effort at county conventions last year will be unopposed for nomination this year. More’s the pity. These are the very people who need to be held responsible… and when I say ‘held responsible’, I mean ‘defeated and sent home’. It’s been roughly a year since that (thankfully largely unsuccessful) effort went down, and somehow Frank Wagner and Scott Taylor, the most odious of this bunch, have escaped primary challenges. It seems the entire Hampton Roads/TowneBank mafia/delegation was involved. The only good news is that Sen. Jeff McWaters (R-8th) is retiring, but his buddy, and fellow slater, Del. Bill DeSteph, is all set up with McWaters’ support for the nomination.
However, this is one place where there is an opportunity to hold a slater accountable in a primary. DeSteph is opposed by Craig Hudgins, a former Marine and grassroots conservative, with the support of local tea party activists. I encourage every Republican to do whatever they can to support Mr. Hudgins.
Another opportunity is in the 12th Senate District, which is also an open seat. The establishment-backed candidate is former Delegate Bill Janis, who supported slating. Siobhan Stolle Dunnavant is also running… yes, she’s another member of the slatin’ Stolle dynasty from Hampton Roads, and as such, is to be opposed. From what I’ve heard from locals, she’s not particularly impressive. Thankfully, there is also Vince Haley, a tea party backed conservative who has the personal support of Newt Gingrich, which has helped him raise quite a few dollars. He’s also brought aboard Zach Werrell, the young campaign manager of Dave Brat’s primary upset of slater-in-chief Eric Cantor last year. Just as with Mr. Hudgins, it’s vital to support Mr. Haley in this primary.
As to the other slaters who will coast to nomination unopposed, it would seem an opportunity has been lost this year. This includes Wagner, Taylor, all the Stolles currently in office, Barry Knight, Jimmie Massie, and DeSteph’s minion Jason Miyares, who was parachuted in to fill DeSteph’s current House seat, and no doubt quite a few others. The grassroots will just have to wait until 2017 (or 2019, in the case of Senators) to challenge them. There’s always the general election, and the possibility of their defeat there. You might well think I’d support that, but as a Republican, I couldn’t possibly comment.
The common refrain from the slaters and their supporters in response to this is some version of “Get over it. It happened.” This is patently ridiculous. As a certain former RPV chairman once told me, it’s not often that people show you who they really are in politics. The slating effort was one such moment, and it was very illuminating, and not something these people can paper over or take back. “Whoops, sorry” isn’t going to do it. Their arrogance and entitlement shows how little respect they have for those they claim to represent.
Our outstanding current state chairman, John Whitbeck, is focused on uniting the party behind conservative principles, and is working hard to right the ship across the board. I know this is the last thing he needs, but from the perspective of the grassroots, this has to take precedence. Never forget.

A New ‘Arlington Way’



So, retiring Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada seems worried. In a speech to the Arlington County Democratic Committee last week, he seemed to be fretting that Arlington might, “allow ourselves to become a new Arlington of rich, entitled people, lacking in compassion, empathy and a sense of community, viscerally opposed to government of any kind, opposed to everything in alleged overspending on every front?” Perish the thought, Walter.

God forbid we deviate from the genius path the Arlington Democrat establishment has set us on, the vaunted ‘Arlington Way’. This essentially means expanding ‘affordable housing’, better known as ‘housing projects’ or subsidized housing, to the rest of us. But that is not the politically correct term. It also goes hand in hand with “giving immigrants safe haven”, which means functioning as a borderline sanctuary city for illegals. Both of these bright ideas, of course, are in great part responsible for the schools capacity crunch the county finds itself in, by bringing in a lot of low-income people who would not otherwise reside in Arlington, who burden the county’s infrastructure and public services, not the least of which are… schools. This means that despite the relatively large county budget, and the repeated contraction of debt through bonds, the county has failed to keep up its roads, for example, or its infrastructure, for another. The roads in Glencarlyn, the author’s neighborhood, are in disrepair, pitted with cracks and potholes that patchwork repair jobs cannot fix, and need to be repaved completely.

Perhaps the absolute worst part about the ‘affordable housing’ fixation is the borderline bribery that goes on to make it happen. Developers often have to underwrite a project the Board majority wants in order to get approval to build. All too often, this means guaranteeing a certain number of housing units as ‘affordable’. Other times it can include things like a halfway house. As current Arlington County Republican Committee chairman Matt Wavro has expressed on numerous occasions in the past, you shouldn’t have to qualify for a government program to live in Arlington.

All of this has also meant steadily increasing property taxes in Arlington. At bottom, what the ‘Arlington Way’ is about, is making everyone dependent on the government, mainly divided into two groups. The first are the low-income residents whose support is bought with government candy such as ‘affordable housing’ or other taxpayer-funded goodies. The second are the guilt-laden limousine liberal types who are shamed by politicians like Tejada into carrying the cost of this statist monstrosity. This combined majority can then be wielded against others, including property and business owners, as it has been.

The good news is that this year’s elections may offer a chance to halt this runaway train, with Tejada and Mary Hynes both declining to seek re-election in the wake of John Vihstadt’s two electoral victories in 2014. The Arlington County Republican Committee should take the lead in standing against the ‘Arlington Way’. We can do this by outlining an alternative, free-market focused vision. What should this be? First, we should promise to make core county services an absolute priority, rather than pushing an ideological agenda, as the Democrats have. Maintain the roads and infrastructure, and put a stop to things like the Artisphere being greenlighted in the first place. Second, we should stand against ANY tax increases, but most immediately against property tax increases, particularly when they are used to further a particular agenda. Third, we should oppose ‘affordable housing’. This may seem like a tough thing in Arlington, but Vihstadt’s victory and the fall of the streetcar project have shown that Arlingtonians are open to fiscal sanity, if we lay out the vision and explain it properly. Fourth, we should never cede offices like the school board to the Democrats. They should face serious opposition whenever plausible.

We may never have a better opportunity than this year. Let’s seize it.


This just in, the Prince William County Board of Elections has denied a request from a handful of Republican candidates to be included on the June 9 state primary ballot after the PWC GOP missed the Feb. 24 filing deadline with the State Board of Elections to request primaries in those races. Some of those candidates are now considering suing to be placed on the ballot in lieu of having to battle it out in so-called firehouse primaries run by the Republican Party.

The candidates impacted by this decision are Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart and Supervisors Maureen Caddigan (Potomac), Peter Candland (Gainesville), Marty Nohe (Coles) and Sheriff Glen Hill. While Candland would probably do even better in a firehouse primary than in a state-run primary if he were challenged, Caddigan and Nohe would be in great danger of losing in such an atmosphere (Nohe faces Paul O’Meara and Caddigan is currently unopposed, but this may draw out a challenger).

Even Stewart faces a greater threat in a party-run nominating contest as he has angered many party regulars with his non-election year antics of tax increases, cronyism and unrestrained residential growth — issues that Chris Crawford is using to go against him for the nomination. Hill’s GOP primary opponent, however, is a perennial candidate who was the right-hand man of the previous Democratic county sheriff.

For a county that likes to talk about “The Rule of Law” quite a bit, these folks make it appear that such a phrase is “for thee, but not for me.” The deadline was missed. There are consequences to that, even if they were not the cause. Furthermore, if one is truly a small government Republican, they he or she should welcome the party running its own nomination process and paying for it rather than saddling the taxpayers with the cost of a state-run primary.

Steve Chapman Rides Again!

You may recall former candidate for Virginia Delegate Steve Chapman’s disastrous 2006 campaign. We certainly do. In fact, going back through Virtucon’s archives, we’ve found some photos from his kick-off event:

And more here:

And who could forget him seeking “sponcers” for his campaign? Or him missing the filing deadline to run? That was a classic that Scott Jacobs’ recent imitation of was but a pale copy.

Well, Steve Chapman rides again and is now running for Woodbridge Supervisor and wouldn’t you know it, his old nemesis Black Velvet Bruce Li is back as well. Last go round, Chapman sued one of the bloggers behind that site and that case was ultimately dismissed. It appears that didn’t make him any friends with BVBL as it is roaring back with a vengeance with a series of posts about Chapman that starts off with “In today’s installment of Are you smarter than a bag of hammers?

Go make some popcorn. This is going to be a long show…

Virginia Democrats Really Want The Senate Back

The Bull Elephant gets the conversation started:

Currently Republicans hold the Virginia House of Delegates by 2 to 1. Republicans have no such hold on the Virginia Senate where they hold 21 seats and the Democrats have 19. Democrats are hopeful that they can take back control of the Senate in November. Their first target is the seat being vacated by the retirement of Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan. The district has voted democrat over the last few years.

Democrats will also challenge Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach and the seat being vacated by Jeff McWaters, another Virginia Beach Republican.

Democrats are also looking at three more Senate seats although these will be much more difficult to flip, Senators Richard H. Black, R-Loudoun, Bryce E. Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, and William M. Stanley Jr., R-Franklin.

Those are a lot of seats in play. Realistically, the Democrats only have a chance in about two or three with Watkins topping the list. Even Sen. Majority Leader Tommy Norment says they view the 10th District as competitive. But Democrats only need one to put the Senate back into a tie with Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam breaking any ties. And they NEED that one because Dems are quickly losing their Republican-lite counterparts in Sens. Stosch and Watkins (and maybe Hanger).

Republicans aren’t about to just sit back and play defense. They’re eyeing a few pick ups themselves, starting with the seat being vacated by Dem Sen. Chuck Colgan in Prince William County. They’re also aiming for Sen. Lynwood Lewis, who barely won Northam’s old seat in a special election, and John Edwards in Roanoke, the last Democrat senator in SWVA.

But this battle won’t just be between the Senate caucuses. The Governor is coming to play. Sitting Governors usually find themselves with plenty of money and influence to throw around at these races, but Terry McAuliffe is a special case, and he knows it. And it’s not just about the Senate – McAuliffe is looking to build an operation that not just takes back the State Senate but lays the groundwork for Clinton 2016:

“I’m laying the groundwork and putting all the pieces in place for ’15 to get my Senate back,” McAuliffe said. “But that same team I’m putting in place and operations will be a set-up to make sure that [in 2016] Virginia’s blue.”

“MY SENATE BACK” the Governor says.

Hopefully the people of Virginia will have something to say about who the Senate really belongs to.

Virginia’s 24th Senate Race And The Bullying Of Emmett Hanger

UPDATED: This post previously stated that the 24th District Committee was suing the Republican Party. They aren’t. They’re suing the Commonwealth.

Emmett Hanger has a bullseye on him.

He’s served in the State Senate for nearly 20 years and has been a thorn in the side of Conservatives for a long while now, often siding with retiring Senators Walter Stosch and John Watkins in joining Democrats on key close votes. He deserves a challenge from his right – which could be achieved by just about anyone running as a Republican.

Hanger is running for reelection but his district is in legal limbo after the 24th Senate District’s Republican District Committee opted to nominate by convention instead of the Primary Hanger wanted – which conflicts with Virginia State Law which allows incumbents to choose their method of nomination – also known as the Incumbent Protection Act:

“A party shall nominate its candidate for election for a General Assembly district where there is only one incumbent of that party for the district by the method designated by that incumbent, or absent any designation by him, by the method of nomination determined by the party,” states section 24.2-509 (B) of the Virginia Code. In this case, the incumbent is Sen. Emmett Hanger and that law means he could choose an open primary or a convention for Republican voters to decide if he gets the party’s nomination for another term. The idea of an open primary however, where independent and Democratic voters could also weigh in, doesn’t sit well with members of the committee.

“The committee members are very much in agreement that the constitutional principal of freedom of association has been violated by this Incumbent Protection Act,” said committee chairman Ken Adams, who also serves as chairman of the Waynesboro Republican Committee. “This violation of the Constitution is offensive to the committee.”

This lawsuit led The Bull Elephant to speculate on whether or not Hanger would retire – even though little conversation had been had over any potential retirement.

[I]f Hanger were to force the issue and designate by Tuesday a state-run open primary as his method of renomination, he would probably trigger the litigation that has been waiting in the wings, which stands a very good chance of eliminating the biggest protection for incumbents in Virginia law, once and for all.**

But, if you’re Emmet Hanger and are faced with the possibility of leaving a legacy of defeat and upsetting the applecart for many of your colleagues for years to come, the best option may be to follow the example of Hanger’s old famously unconservative GOP colleague in the Senate, John Chichester, who made the choice to retire when faced with a similar threat in 2007 (and who has made a new life for himself by endorsing every statewide Democrat candidate since).

So, what will it be? Will Hanger choose to retire, thus ensuring preservation of the Incumbent Protection Act for at least another election cycle, or will he tough it out and see if he can fend off the legal challenge and maybe hold on to his seat for another 4 years? I think the odds favor the former option.

TBE is saying it’s Senator Hanger’s fault that there is any lawsuit because he chose to run again and declared a state run primary as the means of nomination in the 24th District. Because the moment Hanger said he was ready to go, the 24th District Committee filed suit.

Keep in mind, it’s not Emmett Hanger who is suing fellow Republicans the state in order to defeat fellow Republicans.

The Virginia Conservative piled on, asking if the 24th GOP nomination was decided:

Yesterday, on March 2nd, the deadline to file as a candidate for the convention came and went. Surprisingly, only one candidate filed, Dan Moxley. According to the call, given that there is only one candidate, the convention will be cancelled and Moxley will be declared the official nominee.

Now, one can make an argument as to why Emmett Hanger didn’t file his paperwork for this convention. After all, doing so would add some legitimacy to a convention that he will be fighting in court. From a political perspective, Hanger would face a considerably uphill battle in a convention as it would likely be populated by Republican activists eager to oust Hanger due to his support of Medicaid expansion and previous tax hikes.

That second paragraph is key: why would Hanger file for an illegal convention?

Any lawsuit is going to face an uphill battle. While the Party does have a right to self association, the Party Plan explicitly states that committees can choose a nomination process only as permitted under Virginia Law:

1. Legislative District Committee
a. The Legislative District Committee shall determine whether candidates for Legislative District public office shall be nominated by Mass Meeting, Party Canvass, Convention or Primary, where permitted to do so under Virginia Law.

Emphasis ours. Virginia Law says the incumbent gets to choose. The Party Plan says that applies.

Efforts to tear Hanger down before session even ended didn’t work. Daring him to run seems to have succeeded in ensuring he was in the race — and the 24th District Republican Committee has chosen to sue its own party, not just over state law but the Party Plan.

Mike Farris endorses Steve Martin for Senate

Senator Steve Martin, facing two challengers for the Republican nomination in the 11th District, landed a big endorsement from Michael Farris, former Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association and Patrick Henry College.

I write to you today to give my personal endorsement of Senator Steve Martin for his re-election this year. I have known Steve for many years, and have been impressed with the consistent, Conservative leadership that he provides in the Virginia Senate. He is a man of his word – and he is the leader that Virginia, and its citizens, needs representing our conservative values in the Senate.

Steve is a man of sincere faith, and has allowed his faith to guide him in every decision he makes and each vote he casts as Senator. It is because of his faith that Steve is steadfastly pro-life and continually upholds traditional marriage. His consistent leadership on these issues as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education and Health has earned him top ratings from the Family Foundation and the American Conservative Union.

Steve has been a leader in the fight against Obamacare here in Virginia. He was author and chief patron for Virginia’s Healthcare Freedom Act, which enabled Ken Cuccinelli to file suit against the federal government over this horrendous piece of federal legislation. Steve has also consistently opposed big government efforts to expand Medicaid in our state – not only in his rhetoric, but also in his voting record.

Steve has been vocal in his support for religious liberty and homeschooling rights. Steve supported the “Tebow bill” to grant homeschoolers access to school sports every year it came before the legislature, and worked this year to get it through the Senate successfully. Vey importantly, Steve has unwaveringly supported parental rights – including working to make sure options for homeschooling parents remain open and available, free from government interference.

Steve is a man with solid, Conservative principles, and he provides leadership that never strays from those principles. If you want proven Conservative leadership, I urge you to get involved with Steve’s campaign for re-election.

Let’s continue to support leaders in Virginia who work for our principles and for our people. Vote for Steve Martin on June 9th.


Michael Farris

Glen Sturtevant announces for Virginia’s 10th Senate race


That didn’t take long.

Just the other day we asked if Republicans could do better than Bruce Tyler in Virginia’s 10th Senate District and already there’s another contender in the ring. Meet Glen Sturtevant:

In a district that’s fairly Chesterfield heavy there’s still room for more challengers south of the James River, but Sturtevant’s entry gives voters another experienced choice on the ballot without Bruce Tyler’s baggage. Stephen Thomas could make some noise, especially if he’s willing to self finance, but his resume is thin compared to Sturtevant and Tyler – and even the Democrat challengers in the race.

More may still enter, but this is already shaping up to be an interesting race.

UPDATE: Bearing Drift has a great interview with Glen Sturtevant here. From their post:

In our discussion, the 32-year-old talks about his already full background that includes growing up in Spotsylvania, graduating from George Mason, marrying his college sweetheart (who became a schoolteacher and helped him navigate through law school), and adopting three kids (5,2, and 1). He has also managed in a short period of time to bring fiscal sanity to Richmond Schools.

Sturtevant hopes to bring that same fiscal discipline to Richmond, complete with zero-base budgeting, an audit of every state agency, and the publishing of each government entity’s check registry. Now that’s transparency!

Crossposted at RedRVA

Is Bruce Tyler the best Republicans can do in Virginia’s 10th Senate District?

Virginia Republicans hold the slimmest of majorities in the State Senate but sometimes that’s in name only. Often Republicans are having to watch close votes fail because moderate members of their own party swing to the Democrats on the issues that really matter – like standing strong against the federal Medicaid expansion of stopping tax hikes. This year Republicans will have a unique opportunity not just to pick up seats but finally swing some of these more moderate seats to reliable conservative votes in the Senate with the retirement of Senators Walter Stosch and John Watkins.

The 12th District race looks to be a madhouse to replace Stosch with up to five candidates announced including some strong contenders like former Delegate Bill Janis and Stosch’s hand picked Siobhan Stolle-Dunnavant but the 10th District so far leaves a lot of people wanting for a real choice for a Republican nominee.

So far two have announced for State Senate – former Richmond City Councilman Bruce Tyler and State Central member Stephen Thomas. While Thomas’s resume looks impressive from a party politics perspective his lack of political experience could hurt in a field of solid Democratic challengers including Chesterfield Supervisor Daniel Gecker among others. Though his ability to self-fund, including a $50,000 initial infusion of cash could help.

The current alternative Bruce Tyler, on the other hand, is a risky bet for Republicans, in part because of a gorgeous but very expensive alley as detailed by Steve Thomas (no relation to Stephen Thomas we think) on Virginia Virtucon:

For those not familiar, Bruce Tyler was a Republican member of Richmond City Council (1st District) until he was beaten by conservative Democrat Jon Baliles, son for former Gov. Gerald Baliles (D). Tyler had positioned himself as the moderate in that race.

Why is this relevant?

Baliles beat Tyler, in part, because of the “$316,000 alley”.

You see, it seems that Tyler steered $316,000 to create a “green alley” in the one behind his house, while Richmond City roads suffered (as anyone who has driven in the City could attest to).

Quoeth Baliles:

“If you look at it, it looks like the Taj Mahal of alleys”

“I do support green alleys. I don’t support green alleys that cost [$316,000],”

That’s right, the Democrat was able to out-conservative the Republican because of cronyistic spending by the incumbent, who was bounced from office.

Tyler took a while to lose, fighting for absentee ballots and recounts for a while before eventually conceding the race.

But the self-serving and very expensive alley isn’t Tyler’s only problem.

Remember that economic downturn of 2008-2009 that we’re still trying to recover from? Right in the heart of that Bruce Tyler advocated for City Council members to receive a pay raise. At a time when families were being forced to scrimp and save, when budgets were being trimmed while families were losing their homes, Tyler wanted more money for elected officials.

Del. Manoli Loupassi said it was a terrible time to even discuss the issue and urged them to drop it.

Even after leaving office, Tyler has remained active in Richmond politics, advocating heavily for a ballpark in Shockoe Bottom, a divisive issue in the city and surrounded suburbs, but one made more interesting by the face that Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, a huge proponent of the stadium, is also the Chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, which owns property right in the heart of the proposed plan and would make quite a bit of money should the proposal go through. This ballpark debate is heated enough, but in one heated exchange, Tyler had a confrontation with Jon Baliles mother, leading Baliles to say:

[H]e hopes that going forward, constituents will bring their concerns directly to him: “If Mr. Tyler wants to tell me what he thinks then he should come to me rather than attack my mother.”


So this leads to the question (and the title of the post): Is Bruce Tyler the best Republicans can do in Virginia’s 10th Senate District?

Stephen Thomas may be that guy, but there are other appealing options open to Republicans that we can hope may enter the race. Multiple media reports have mentioned Richmond School Board member Glen Sturtevant who would be an interesting addition to the race.

With the fate of the Senate in the balance, this is a must win race for Republicans. And it needs to be a Republican willing to stand up for Republican values. We need to make sure Watkins isn’t replaced by another Watkins kind of Republican – or a Democrat.

Who would you like to see run? Share your ideas in the comments!

(Crossposted to RedRVA)